THE Home Secretary was in Hampstead tonight geeing up Camden’s Conservatives at a summer soiree. Theresa May told them “never to forget” Liam Byrne’s no money note at the Treasury when Labour ministers cleared their desks last year and to remind voters why Labour debt was behind difficult cuts to public spending.
It wasn’t all serious fighting talk, though. She recalled how in 1987 she had reason to be fairly annoyed with the Holborn and St Pancras branch. May said she narrowly missed out on being selected as the candidate to take on Frank Dobson in the constituency – by one vote. “I was told that I was wearing a bangle and it was irritating people by banging on the table all night,” she said. “But tonight I’ve been told it was all about the length of my skirt.” Apparently, someone in the selection process thought it was a little short for a woman wanting to take on Mr Dobson.
Peter Luff got the job May was after – duly lost to Dobson, as everybody who has challenged him for the seat has over the last 30 years, but later turned up in the Commons as MP for Mid Worcestershire. That’s a common trend, get beat by Dobson but get elected elsewhere. John Major and Margot James did that too.
Chris Philp, the compere tonight in the beautifully restored St Stephen’s Church next to the Royal Free Hospital, said the party had made a silly mistake by not picking May way back when, but as she told how her life had changed since entering the cabinet the Home Sec chuckled: ‘Holborn can be forgiven now’.
UPDATED: See Camden councillor Andrew Marshall’s comment below. The story blogged is as it was told last night to Conservative members at Theresa May’s talk, but Andrew has first hand experience of the process.